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A cluster exploration analysis of prospective teachers' perceptions of professional learning communities (PLC)

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A cluster exploration analysis of prospective teachers' perceptions of professional learning communities (PLC)

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A cluster exploration analysis of prospective teachers' perceptions of professional learning communities (PLC)

  1. 1. A cluster analysis exploration of prospective teachers' perceptions of professional learning communities (PLC) presented by: Sally Wai-Yan WAN, EdD Faculty of Education The Chinese University of Hong Kong Paper presented at BERA Annual Conference 2018, Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK September 13, 2018
  2. 2. Outline Background of the study: Hong Kong Context Literature review Research method Findings & discussion Conclusion & implications
  3. 3. Hong Kong context ● Recent official educational documents: Emphasis on PLC as a key catalyst in facilitating school improvement and curriculum development ○ ACTEQ (2003): “schools should be developed as professional learning communities, [while] teachers’ professional development should be regarded as an important force in school development” (p. 7) ○ ACTEQ (2003): “… NOT to be confused with the executive leadership of school administration. Rather, it is the professional leadership by which a teacher builds up a collegial culture of professional learning and sharing.” (p. 10) ○ CDC (2009): “Developing a learning community in the school, i.e. where teachers and students learn together and from each other” ○ CDC (2014): “Every school is unique in terms of its strengths such as history, experiences in curriculum development, pedagogy, teachers, leadership, community context, and the changes it proposes to make each year.” (p. 1) Develop “professional” leadership in support of the establishment of PLC … Background of the study
  4. 4. Professional learning communities (PLCs) Key literatures: DuFour, 2004; Giles & Hargreaves, 2006; Stoll et al., 2006; Hord, 2009; Vescio, Ross, & Adams, 2008 “a powerful, proven conceptual framework for transforming schools at all levels, … [focusing] on learning rather than teaching, work collaboratively on matters related to learning, and [holding] itself accountable for the kind of results that fuel continual improvement.” (DuFour, 2011, p. 162). often associated with in-depth, systematic, collaborative professional development activities at schools (OECD, 2013) Literature review
  5. 5. PLCs & teacher education ● Foundation for PLCs: Good preparation of teachers! ● Teacher education ○ Student teachers were able to develop the skills and commitment to teach through professional collaboration inquiry within school and university partnerships. (Rigelman & Ruben, 2012) ○ Positive effects of a PLC on novice teachers, who had a strong sense about PLCs as a collaborative effort and valued the opportunity to interact with teachers at other grade levels (Martin, 2011) ○ Teacher educators should introduce the concept of teacher leadership in initial teacher education [to] open up leadership opportunities for every preservice teacher, and prepare the teachers with the necessary attitudes for leadership” by restructuring and reorganizing the current teacher education programmes to enable prospective teachers (Cheng & Szeto, 2016, p. 147) Clear expectations of teachers’ roles in PLCs Applying teacher leadership skills in supporting PLC development
  6. 6. PLCs & teacher education ● HOWEVER …. ○ Rare studies explored prospective teachers’ readiness for becoming one of the members in schools as professional learning communities. ○ How well current teacher education programmes have prepared prospective teachers in committing themselves in implementing PLC is not fully investigated.
  7. 7. Aim of the study ● To explore prospective teachers’ perceptions of professional learning communities (PLC)
  8. 8. Research method ● Research questions: ○ RQ1. What are prospective teachers’ perceptions of professional learning communities (PLC)? ○ RQ2. Is it possible to identify different patterns (profiles) in prospective teachers’ perceptions of professional learning communities (PLC)? If so, is there any relationship between the patterns and teacher characteristics (gender, major academic discipline and teaching practicum experience)?
  9. 9. Research method Participants & settings: ● 5 different cohorts from the past three years (i.e. 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017- 18) of prospective teachers who enrolled in a compulsory course in a local university in Hong Kong ● N=167 Data collection: ● A survey concerning prospective teachers’ perceptions of PLC ● 27-item online survey, which was developed with reference to Bolam et al. (2005), Olivier, Hipp, & Huffman (2003), and Angelle & Teague (2014)
  10. 10. Research method Data analysis: ● Descriptive: mean, standard deviations, reliability analysis ● Inferential: Principal Component Analysis, cluster analysis, chi-square analysis, ANOVA analysis, correlational analysis
  11. 11. Findings & discussion ○ RQ1. What are prospective teachers’ perceptions of professional learning communities (PLC)? ○ RQ2. Is it possible to identify different patterns (profiles) in prospective teachers’ perceptions of professional learning communities (PLC)? If so, is there any relationship between the patterns and teacher characteristics (gender, year of study, major subject discipline and teaching practicum experience)?
  12. 12. Component 1 2 3 4 Q01. Teachers should take collective responsibility for student learning. -.080 .597 .148 .271 Q02. Teachers should create conditions for students to feel the confidence to learn. .129 .649 -.038 .333 Q03. Teachers should set learning targets for individual students. .230 .690 .204 -.063 Q04. Teachers should ensure students receive constructive feedback about their work. .266 .624 .008 .259 Q05. Teachers should regularly monitor the learning and progress of individual students. .139 .644 -.087 .092 Q08. Teachers should have a variety of opportunities for collective learning through open dialogue. .209 .762 .239 .079 Q09. Teachers should learn together and apply the new knowledge to solve problems. .288 .627 .219 .126 Q10. Teachers should share with one another their evidence-based approach to improve practice. .663 .248 .166 .209 Q11. Teachers should share with one another how they actively seek and use feedback from students. .768 .228 .163 .242 Q12. Teachers should share with one another how they experiment and innovate in their teaching practice. .746 .119 .247 .290 Q13. Teachers should share with one another their reflections about their learning. .779 .117 .198 .032 Q14. Teachers should share with one another what they have learnt from the professional development they attended/ experienced. .808 .190 .085 .223 Q15. A collaborative process should exist for developing shared values among teachers. .554 .346 .359 .118 Q17. Teachers should share the school’s vision. .176 .100 .841 .100 Q18. Decisions should be made in alignment with the school’s vision and values. .180 .017 .841 .067 Q19. A collaborative process should exist for developing a shared vision among teachers. .189 .332 .688 .284 Q20. The school should implement policies and programmes that are aligned with the school’s vision. .302 .072 .700 .290 Q23. The school management team should incorporate advice from teachers in decision-making. .191 .130 .080 .812 Q24. The school management team should be proactive in addressing areas that need attention. .259 .311 .170 .685 Q25. The school management team should share responsibility and rewards for innovative efforts. .208 .149 .257 .709 Q26. The school management team should share power and authority with teachers. .147 .151 .124 .643 Table 1. Rotated Component Matrix. RQ1. What are prospective teachers’ perceptions of professional learning communities (PLC)? RD SL SV SSL
  13. 13. Dimensions M S.D. Dimension 1 Reflective dialogue (RD) 4.93 0.61 Dimension 2 Collective focus on student learning (SL) 5.09 0.57 Dimension 3 Shared vision (SV) 4.63 0.68 Dimension 4 Shared and supported leadership (SSL) 5.00 0.63 4 PLC dimensions Overall mean=4.93 (S.D.=0.49) Positive towards the realization of PLCTable 2. PLC dimensions.
  14. 14. Overall RD SL SV SSL Overall PLC - Dimension 1 Reflective dialogue (RD) .845** - Dimension 2 Collective focus on student learning (SL) .807** .534** - Dimension 3 Shared vision (SV) .725** .540** .381** - Dimension 4 Shared and supported leadership (SSL) .757** .537** .494** .466** - **. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). Table 2. Correlations amongst PLC dimensions. Moderately strong relations: RD & SL RD & SV RD & SSL Importance of RD!
  15. 15. Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. Dimension 1 Reflective dialogue Between Groups 2.389 5 .478 1.288 .272 Within Groups 59.731 161 .371 Total 62.120 166 Dimension 2 Collective focus on student learning Between Groups 3.348 5 .670 2.123 .065 Within Groups 50.769 161 .315 Total 54.116 166 Dimension 3 Shared vision Between Groups 3.496 5 .699 1.532 .183 Within Groups 73.477 161 .456 Total 76.973 166 Dimension 4 Shared and supported leadership Between Groups 12.349 5 2.470 7.526 .000 Within Groups 52.835 161 .328 Total 65.184 166 Table 3. ANOVA (by major subject discipline). Significant difference in Dimension 4 SSL & major subject discipline
  16. 16. N M S.D. Dimension 1 Reflective dialogue CLED 65 4.81 0.65 ELED 43 5.02 0.56 BMED 21 4.87 0.64 LSED 23 5.00 0.49 SPE 11 5.18 0.70 Others 4 5.17 0.69 Total 167 4.93 0.61 Dimension 2 Collective focus on student learning CLED 65 4.98 0.48 ELED 43 5.27 0.48 BMED 21 5.16 0.45 LSED 23 4.93 0.87 SPE 11 5.06 0.72 Others 4 5.43 0.26 Total 167 5.09 0.57 Dimension 3 Shared vision CLED 65 4.56 0.63 ELED 43 4.69 0.72 BMED 21 4.44 0.55 LSED 23 4.70 0.74 SPE 11 5.07 0.62 Others 4 4.75 1.14 Total 167 4.63 0.68 Dimension 4 Shared and supported leadership CLED 65 4.80 0.55 ELED 43 5.41 0.51 BMED 21 4.79 0.61 LSED 23 4.82 0.69 SPE 11 5.27 0.59 Others 4 5.13 0.66 Total 167 5.00 0.63 Table 4. Comparison of according to major subject discipline. Nature of English? Open-mindedness? Collaboration?
  17. 17. Cluster 1 “Moderate PLC” (N=93) Cluster 2 “High PLC” (N=74) Dimension 1 Reflective dialogue 4.59 5.36 Dimension 2 Collective focus on student learning 4.80 5.44 Dimension 3 Shared vision 4.27 5.09 Dimension 4 Shared and supported leadership 4.60 5.49 Table 5. Final Cluster Centers. RQ2a. Is it possible to identify different patterns (profiles) in prospective teachers’ perceptions of professional learning communities (PLC)? Each dimension = >4.0
  18. 18. Cluster Error F Sig. Mean Square df Mean Square df Dimension 1 Reflective dialogue 24.112 1 .230 165 104.673 .000 Dimension 2 Collective focus on student learning 16.913 1 .225 165 75.011 .000 Dimension 3 Shared vision 28.284 1 .295 165 95.852 .000 Dimension 4 Shared and supported leadership 32.032 1 .201 165 159.428 .000 Table 6. ANOVA (by cluster).
  19. 19. Demographic characteristics Cluster 1 “Moderate PLC” (N=93) Cluster 2 “High PLC” (N=74) Gender Male 31 27 Female 62 47 Major of study CLED 47 18 ELED 16 27 BMED 11 10 LSED 13 10 SPE 4 7 Others 2 2 Year of study Yr 2 1 1 Yr 3 15 9 Yr 4 60 50 Yr 5 17 14 Teaching practicum experience No 63 50 Yes 30 24 Table 7. Demographic information according to cluster membership.
  20. 20. RQ2b. If so, is there any relationship between the patterns and teacher characteristics (gender, year of study, major subject discipline and teaching practicum experience)? ● Chi-square tests to examine if any relationships with … ○ Gender ○ Year of study ○ Major subject discipline ○ Teaching practicum experience ● Significant difference: Major subject discipline !!! ● More ELED à High PLC vs More CLED à Moderate PLC Chi-Square Tests Value df Asymptotic Significance (2- sided) Pearson Chi-Square 15.043a 5 .010 Likelihood Ratio 15.354 5 .009 Linear-by-Linear Association 3.895 1 .048 N of Valid Cases 167 a. 3 cells (25.0%) have expected count less than 5. The minimum expected count is 1.77.
  21. 21. Conclusion & implications PLC development ● Unbalanced understanding of PLC development? ○ Collective focus on student learning ßà Shared vision Similar to other studies in school leadership ... Realization of importance of student learning (Wan et al., 2018) Hierarchical leadership in schools (Walker, 2004; Bryant, 2018) … influenced by socio-cultural norms
  22. 22. Conclusion & implications Developing understandings of PLC Subject matters? ○ Influence of major subject discipline vs teacher engagement in PLC as collective activities Teaching English in HK • Facing more challenges (Cheng & Wang, 2004) • More opportunities in collaborative works such as co-teaching in government- initiated programmes (Carless, 2006) English = openness, worldviews? (Berns, 2007)
  23. 23. Conclusion & implications PLC development ● Role of teacher education in preparing teachers in PLC engagement?
  24. 24. Conclusion & implications Research directions Ø Interviews for in-depth understandings of “why” Ø Design-based research in preparing prospective teachers for developing PLC Ø Longitudinal study about any changes after working at schools

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